If you want an elopement location that is moody and is filled with beautiful scenery, Washington is the place! It’s the heart of the PNW and it’s beauty will leave you in awe. Washington state has so much beauty to offer for eloping couples whether you want to hike to secluded mountain top or you’re searching for something a little more easily accessible, there’s a wide variety of options to choose from filled with stunning beauty!

This guide will walk you through the best elopement locations in Washington, the best time of year to elope here, how to get your marriage license, and more!

Before we dive in, allow me to introduce myself.

I’m Tiana, a Native Washingtonian & Elopement Photographer

Washington is one of the most beautiful states in the country! With moody weather, stunning mountains, and beautiful coastlines, it has a little bit of everything. I oughta know, I lived there for over 21 years!

I wrote this guide to help couples like you learn everything you need to plan the perfect elopement in Washington. If you find yourself needing a little extra help planning your elopement (and someone to document your day!), I would love to help you! Reach out and let’s work together!

Why Elope in Washington?

If you haven’t had the privilege of visiting Washington yet, you you’re in for a treat! This state is the heart of the PNW and home to spectacular scenery! It’s a filled with virtually endless elopement locations to make your day feel like a fairytale.

Easily Accessible

Whether you’re looking to elope on the coast or in the seclusion of the mountains, you’ll find that natural beauty is easy to access across the state. The state is home to 3 National Parks with stunning views easily accessed with little to no hiking required.

Stunning Views

Home to 3 National Parks, 157 miles of coastline, and over 64 mountain ranges, Washington’s landscapes will take your breath away! With moody weather and awe-inspiring mountains, the scenery is diverse and will leave you breathless.

Variety of Landscapes

You’ll find more than just mountains in Washington. The state is home to a diverse range of landscapes ranging from rain forests to mountains to coastline to desert.

Frequently Asked Questions About Eloping In Washington

Got questions about Washington elopements? I’ve got answers!

How Much Does It Cost To Elope In Washington?

The average cost for an elopement in Washington is between $4,000-$12,000 dollars, much cheaper than the average wedding cost of $23,000 in the same state!

How Quickly Can You Get Married In Washington?

Once you receive your marriage license, there is a 3 day waiting period before you can get married and the license is valid for 60 days.

Where Can You Elope In Washington?

Just about anywhere! Washington is home to 3 beautiful National Parks, not to mentions tons of other amazing locations! As long as you obtain the proper permits, there’s no real limit to where you can elope here.

Keep on scrolling for the locations with the best elopement views in the state!

How To Elope In Washington

  1. Hire a Washington elopement photographer
  2. Choose a ceremony location and date
  3. Obtain any necessary permits
  4. Plan your Washington elopement experience
  5. Have an epic elopement in Washington!

This guide is going to walk you through every step of planning your elopement in Washington. It will guide you through the best seasons for eloping in Washington, the best locations for eloping, how to obtain your Washington marriage license, and everything else you need to plan an unforgettable elopement experience in the PNW!

Choose A Location For Your Washington Elopement

One of the first big decisions you’ll need to make is to decide where you want to elope. If you’re working with an elopement photographer that also helps with planning, then you can ask them for guidance in this area.

Take a moment with your partner and envision your day. What kind of scenery do you want to be surrounded by as you share your vows? Do you want to include some exciting activities in your day like a hike or would you rather keep it simple? Keep these things in mind when choosing a location.

If you’re looking for inspiration and help narrowing your location down, I’ve got you!

The Best Elopement Locations In Washington

The North Cascades

Located approximately 2 hours north of Seattle are the jagged mountains of the North Cascades, an epic elopement location. You’ll find some of the most stunning mountain views in the entire state here! The North Cascades is also home to the largest concentration of glaciers in the lower 48. These mountains are a popular spot for hiking, camping, and backpacking. It’s less popular than the other National Parks in Washington, making it a great option if you’re looking to avoid crowds.

Best Locations To Elope In The North Cascades

  • Diablo Lake, in the North Cascades National Park
  • Artists Point on Mt. Baker
  • Maple Pass Loop Trail

Best Time Of Year To Elope In The North Cascades

While the North Cascades are a popular location all year round, the best time of year to elope here is the Summer or early Autumn when the snow is melted and the mountains are easily accessible. September and early October is a particularly busy time due to the golden larch trees that attract millions of visitors each year. Avoid this time of year if you want to avoid crowds.

Summer time in this region can be smoky and even closed down due to wildfires, so make sure to come with a backup plan. August and September are the most likely time of year to be impacted by wildfires.

Where To Stay Near The North Cascades

Permit Information

Permits are required for weddings taking place within the North Cascades National Park. If you will be having a wedding with 75 or more people in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, a Special Use Permit will be required.

Getting To The North Cascades

The North Cascades are easy to access from just about anywhere in the world! If you are flying into Washington, the best airport to fly into is the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). The airport is an approximate 2.5 hour drive to the North Cascades, depending on what specific area you will be eloping in.

Tips For Eloping In The North Cascades

Even though the North Cascades is one of the countries least visited parks, it can still get quite busy in the Summer! To avoid crowds, I recommend opting for a sunrise or sunset wedding ceremony. You can also add a hike into your day. Typically hiking 3-5 miles will get you away from most other people, and this area is filled with some pretty spectacular trails!

Check out my full guide to eloping in the North Cascades National Park for more information to plan your elopement here!


Mt. Rainier National Park

Washington’s most well-known mountain, Mt. Rainier is an icon of the state, and for good reason. Mt. Rainier National Park is over 369 sq. miles and sits about 2 hours south of Seattle. You’ll find a variety of terrain from lush fern covered forests to the snowcap mountain (even in July!). There’s dozens of options for hiking, backpacking, camping, and wildlife watching, making it a perfect choice for couples looking for natural beauty and adventure for their elopement experience!

Best Locations To Elope In Mt. Rainier National Park

  • Sunrise
  • Grove of the Patriarchs
  • Silver Forest Trail

Best Time Of Year To Elope In Mt. Rainier National Park

July through October are hands down the best time of year to elope in Mt. Rainier National Park! Summer and early Autumn offer the warmest weather, snow free-trails, and a chance to see wildflowers around the park.

If you’re hoping to catch the wildflowers in bloom, you’ll have the best odds of seeing them if you elope between early to mid July and typically peak the first week of August. However, every season is different and there is no way to know for sure when they will be blooming.

Where To Stay Near Mt. Rainier National Park

Permit Information

A permit is required for wedding ceremonies taking place within Mt. Rainier National Park. The permit has a non-refundable $250 application fee and takes at least four weeks to be processed. You can learn more on the Mt. Rainier website, here.

Getting To Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier is a 2-3 hour drive south of Seattle. If you are eloping from out of state, the best airport to fly into is the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

Tips For Eloping In Mt. Rainier

Because the park is so popular, I highly recommend choosing to elope on a weekday instead of a weekend to avoid crowds. Mt. Rainier is very popular for locals and visitors from around the world and can be quite crowded in the Summer months.

Another great option for avoiding crowds is to have your ceremony at sunrise or sunset and to choose a location that requires some hiking. The longer the hike, the less crowds you’ll have to deal with!


Mt. Spokane

If you’re looking for an elopement location with beautiful mountain views, doesn’t have a lot of crowds, and is also pet friendly, Mt. Spokane is the perfect spot! This mountain is 5,883 ft. tall and is part of the Selkirk mountain range in Eastern Washington and is a popular location for outdoor activities all year round!

Best Locations To Elope In Mt. Spokane

The Vista House

Best Time Of Year To Elope In Mt. Spokane

The best time of year to Elope at Mt. Spokane is July through early October when the mountain is free of snow and the weather is still warm. The summit of Mt. Spokane is usually closed until mid to late June due to snow from the winter.

Where To Stay Near Mt. Spokane

Permit Information

A Discover Pass is required for all vehicles on the day of your elopement. You can purchase a day pass at Mt. Spokane for $11.50 or an annual pass for $35 online or from a retailer.

You can learn more about the Discover Pass here.

Getting To Mt Spokane

Mt. Spokane is a 40 minute drive from Spokane in eastern Washington. You can fly into Spokane through the Spokane International Airport (GEG), making this area is to access from anywhere in the world!

Tips For Eloping In Mt. Spokane

Despite Spokane being Washington State’s second largest city, it’s not too difficult to avoid crowds in this area. Spokane has a strong outdoors culture, which does mean areas like Mt. Spokane can be busy in the Summer, but it’s not too hard to find a quiet spot even in the most popular locations. If seclusion is a high priority for your elopement day, I recommend choosing a date in the shoulder seasons or choosing a weekday for your elopement.

View my full guide to planning an elopement in Spokane.


Olympic National Park

Washington state’s third National Park, the Olympic National Park is made up of four regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west-side temperate rainforest, and the forests of the drier east side. Moody and rainy, the peninsula has beautiful rainforests, subalpine forests, as well as coastal beaches along the Pacific. You could easily spend a week here and only scratch the surface.

Best Locations To Elope In Olympic National Park

  • Hurricane Ridge
  • Ruby Beach
  • Hoh Rainforest
  • Lake Crescent

Best Time Of Year To Elope In Olympic National Park

Summer will give you the best odds of dry, warm weather, but the park is beautiful all year round! Part of the Olympic Peninsula is a rainforest and gets over 12 feet of rain every year! If staying dry is a high priority for you, I highly recommend eloping in July or August. But if your up for adventure, and want to beat the crowds, eloping in the shoulder season of June or September is a great option!

Where To Stay Near Olympic National Park

Permit Information

Wedding ceremonies in the Olympic National Park require a Special Use Permit. These typically take 3-4 weeks to be processed after the application has been submitted. Wedding permits for the Olympic National Park cost between $50-$250 depending on the size of the event.

Getting To Olympic National Park

You have two options for getting to the Olympic National Park. You can drive, which takes about 3 hours from Seattle, or you can take a ferry across the Puget Sound to the Olympic Peninsula.

If you’ll be flying into Washington, you’ll want to fly into the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and drive from there.

Tips For Eloping In Olympic National Park

The Olympic Peninsula is a lot bigger than it looks! When deciding where to stay and where to elope, make sure to map out your route on Google Maps to account for driving time.


Deception Pass

Just under two hours north of Seattle is Deception Pass State Park and makes for a beautiful elopement location. This state park has some beautiful views of the Puget Sound, rugged cliffs, and old growth forests. It is close to several charming small towns and has access to several beaches along the coastline.

Best Locations To Elope In Deception Pass

  • Rosario Beach
  • Macs Cove
  • West Point

Best Time Of Year To Elope At Deception Pass

Summer is the best time of year to elope at Deception Pass, with the best weather during this time of year. It’s not uncommon for rain, even in the Summer months, so be prepared for all weather no matter when you elope.

Where To Stay Near Deception Pass

Permit Information

A Special Use Permit is required for wedding ceremonies taking place within Deception Pass State Park. It costs $45 and the application must be applied for at least 60 days before the requested date. You can learn more about Deception Pass State Parks permit requirements here.

Getting To Deception Pass

Deception Pass is about a 1.5 hour drive from Seattle. You could also take a ferry and drive up Whidbey Island for a more scenic route, but it adds about an hour to the trip.

Tips For Eloping In Deception Pass

Come prepared for rain, even in the Summer! Just about every trip I’ve made to this area had at least a few sprinkles, so it’s best to come prepared.

This park is also quite popular in the Summer months. I would recommend choosing a week day for your elopement for the most privacy on your elopement day.


Leavenworth

Leavenworth is a charming Bavarian-styled village in the Cascade Mountains, located in central Washington. This town is a destination for tourists all year round for its alpine-style buildings, authentic German beer and food, and access to the surrounding mountains. This town and the surrounding area is one of the most beautiful areas in Washington, making it an epic elopement location!

Best Locations To Elope In Leavenworth

  • Colchuck Lake
  • Lake Wenatchee
  • Stevens Pass
  • Lake Valhalla
  • Downtown Leavenworth

Best Time Of Year To Elope In Leavenworth

One of the greatest parts about Leavenworth is that it’s a great spot to elope any time of year! Summer and early Autumn are great if you want warm weather and to be out in the mountains, but the town is a beautiful spot in the winter months as well!

Where To Stay Near Leavenworth

Permit Information

A permit will likely be required for your Leavenworth elopement, depending on the specific location you choose. Most of the surrounding National Forest land around Leavenworth is in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, which requires a Special Use Permit for weddings.

Getting To Leavenworth

It’s a 2.5 hour scenic drive to Leavenworth from Seattle along Highway 2 or a 3 hour drive from Spokane.

Tips For Eloping In Leavenworth

Leavenworth is a popular destination, with its busiest seasons being Christmas and Summer. These are also some of the best times to elope in the area. If you want to avoid crowds, I recommend eloping on a week day or choosing a date in the shoulder season.


Choose A Date For Your Washington Elopement

Once you have a location in mind, you’ll want to start narrowing down your date. This will depend on what kind of activities you want to include in your elopement. Washington is beautiful year round and offers fun opportunities year round!

Seasons

Washington may be known for its rain, but contrary to popular belief, the whole state isn’t this way. And typically when it rains there, it’s more likely to be a drizzle than pouring rain. But central Washington and eastern Washington receive far less than the western part of the state. 

Spring

Spring in Washington is known for its colorful blossoms, mild temperatures, and drizzly days (though less rain than in the winter). At higher elevations, snow is still common into late March. This is a great time to visit if you’re looking to avoid crowds while still having mild weather to spend time outdoors.

Summer

There’s a saying in Washington that summer doesn’t start until the 5th of July, because it’s not uncommon for it to rain up-to and including Independence Day. By mid-June, the temperatures average in the mid 60’s with less rain and clear blue skies. This time of year is the most popular for tourists and destinations such as National Parks will be at their busiest.

Autumn

Fall in Washington are unlike anywhere else! Temperatures start to fall quickly, and rain begins again, but the scenery comes alive with beautiful autumn colors! This time of year is less crowded and the weather is still good enough to get out and explore in the mountains.

Winter

Rain increases and temperatures drop into the 30’s and the mountains will become covered in snow. The lower elevations receive some snow with an average of 6.3 inches in Seattle. There’s plenty of opportunities for winter sports in the mountains with ski season kicking off in late November and typically running through April.

Wildfire Season

During the Summer, it’s common for wildfires in central and eastern Washington. The hot, dry conditions in combination with the forests that cover this part of the state create the perfect conditions for fires to start and spread. It’s not uncommon for August and September to have smoky conditions, even in western Washington.

Wildfires are typically the worst in August and September, but they can start in June or July if the conditions are right.

Before heading out to the backcountry, it’s always best to check for active wildfires near where you will be going.

Crowds

Washington may be known for its rain, but contrary to popular belief, the whole state isn’t this way. And typically when it rains there, it’s more likely to be a drizzle than pouring rain. But central Washington and eastern Washington receive far less than the western part of the state. 

Avoid Peak Season

Seattle has a big outdoors culture as well as drawing tourists from all over the world to their National Parks and other outdoor recreation opportunities. The peak seasons in the state are July and August, with June and September following closely behind. If avoiding crowds is a big priority for you, it’s best to avoid holidays and weekends and to stick to the shoulder seasons to get the most privacy.

Book Your Washington Elopement Photographer And Vendors

If you haven’t done so already, you want to start booking your vendors, especially your photographer! Most elopement photographers (such as myself) also help with planning and choosing a location. A good elopement photographer is an invaluable resource for planning because they will guide you through the process, help you find locations you might never of known about, and help you choose the best time of day for your ceremony and portraits to get the best light. All on top of documenting your day!

You’ll also want to start considering what other vendors you want to include in your day and get them booked. Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you can’t have a day catered to you! Some of the most popular elopement vendors you can consider booking include:

  • Florist
  • Caterer or Chef
  • Officiant
  • Hair & Makeup Artist
  • Videographer

How To Get Married In Washington

Now, let’s get into how to legally get married in Washington. Don’t worry, it’s not a complicated process!

No matter what state you live in, you will get your marriage license through the state that you are getting married in. Below you’ll find how to get your marriage license in Washington. Please note that I always recommend looking up the County Recorders Office website for the county you will be getting married in to find the exact steps, as it may vary slightly from county to county.

How To Obtain A Marriage License In Washington

In order to receive your marriage license in Washington, both you and your partner will need to complete a marriage application either in person or via mail. You will need to bring your government issued identification and the price is approximately $72. If you apply through the mail, you must sign the application in front of a Notary Public.

Once the application has been approved, you will be issued a marriage license which will have a 3 day waiting period before you can get married. The license will expire after 60 days.

The exact details can be found on the county website of whatever location you will be getting married in.

Officiant

Your officiant must be an ordained minister to legally perform your marriage. This can be a judge, a retired judge, or an ordained minister.

Witnesses

Washington State requires 2 witnesses be present at your wedding to sign your marriage certificate.

Plan Your Washington Elopement Day

Now’s the fun part, you get to start planning the details of your adventure elopement. Have fun finding activities and ways to make your day special, unique, and memorable. Remember, you can include anything you want in your day!

Don’t forget to follow Leave No Trace when planning your day.

Some Activity Idea’s To Include In Your Washington Elopement:

  • Hike to your ceremony location
  • Rent a cozy cabin
  • Explore a National Park
  • Go on a picnic in the mountains
  • Have an intimate dinner with your closest relationships
  • Watch the sunset over the coast
  • Go kayaking

Check out this list of 50+ elopement day activities for more ideas!

Book Accommodations For Your Washington Elopement

Find and book your accommodations for your trip. Great lodging can make a good trip into a great one, so make sure to find the perfect place to stay to make your elopement that much more special!

Make Your Travel Plans

Once you’ve started planning your day, you need to start making travel plans! This may include booking airfare if you’re flying in from out of state, reserving a rental car, and/or a shuttle to get from the airport to your hotel.

Create A Timeline For Your Washington Elopement

Once you’ve decided on what activities you want to include in your day, put together a timeline for your day. Ask your photographer for help with this, as they can help you arrange your day to give you enough time for everything, as well as suggest the best times for photos to get the best lighting. Check out my guide to creating an elopement timeline.

This is a complimentary service I include in all of my elopement packages! If you’re interested in learning more, check out my packages here!

Washington Elopement Packages

Want to take the stress out of planning your elopement? I offer elopement packages that include a whole lot more than just photography! Every single one of my packages offer unlimited planning assistance to help you find that perfect location you’re dreaming of, helping research and obtain any required permits for your day, assistance creating a timeline for your day, and more all on top of documenting your adventure!

Get Married!

The day is here and all of your planning comes together! You get to have the best day every while your photographer documents it. Take your time and enjoy the day!

Eloping in Washington offers the perfect opportunity to create an epic and meaningful wedding experience surrounded by the beauty of nature. With the right location, a bit of planning, and some assistance from your photographer, your day will be a magical, stress-free experience that will become the adventure of a lifetime!

If you’re looking for someone to help you plan and document your day, I would love to help you! Contact me to start planning your adventure elopement.

Happy eloping!

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